08 January 2007

Book club? Check.

I joined a book club.

I've decided, whether or not it is "wise" to pursue such a lofty aim during dissertation writing, I need to expand my literary horizons. And after recently beginning the process of digitally organizing my personal collection on LibraryThing (thanks to Chris Clarke for pointing this great and time-consuming site on his blog), I realize that although I like (some of) my choices, an overhaul is definitely in order.

As I sat at our first meeting, I realized with horror that I know nothing. I listened to some of the other members name author after author that they recommended, and book after book from those authors that are must-reads. I had heard of maybe one or two of them, and I began to think about what I've been reading for the past few years. And I discovered the problem.

Because I research and teach for a living, I should always be reading books and articles in order to further my work or spruce up my classes. Always. Constantly. There's never an upper limit on how much I should read "for work."

So instead of setting records on how much I actually do read, I more find myself avoiding "fun" books because that would mean that I was spending eye power on something not work-related. Somehow, cleaning or watching TV does not provoke the same feelings of guilt.

So by the end of next year, with the help of book club obligation, I will have read at least 12 books, recommended highly by those people that impressed me with their knowledge yesterday. I have already taken on For Whom the Bell Tolls. Next up? The Shadow of the Wind.

P.S. (can you do P.S.'s on blogs?): I've even added a column on my blog entitled "Reading" that contains helpful sites related to books, book discussions, etc. In case any of you hold a similar ambition, I'm completely open for more recommendations.

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